Food Lion Feeds Great Pantry Makeover campaign continued this week across Food Lion’s footprint. From Hinesville, Ga. to Claymont, Del., our associates were all over helping to build shelves, paint walls, and restock pantries in need. By partnering with our local food banks, Food Lion Feeds is helping feeding agencies increase their capability to distribute fresh, nutritious food to their clients.
You can keep up with the Food Lion Feeds team as we recap the impact we're making through The Great Pantry Makeover events here on our Lion's Tale blog.
Below is a recap for the week of Nov. 11, 2018:
November 13 – Hinesville, Ga.
Live Oak Church
Savannah-area Food Lion associates didn’t know what to expect Tuesday when they arrived at Live Oak Church in Hinesville, Ga. But it didn’t take long for the associates to understand the impact they were making on the church and its food pantry, which distributes food to community members in need every Tuesday. The eight associates did everything from packing bags, restocking refrigerators and shelves and the big hit—assisting clients with the bags of groceries to their cars.
Liam Kelly, who works at the Food Lion in Hinesville, said it was his first-time volunteering on behalf of Food Lion. “It’s a good feeling to get outside the store and help the community,” Kelly said before picking up a bag to take to a woman’s car.
Before the event started, Christi Cowart prayed and thanked God for Food Lion and asked that the food not only bless the families, but that they find enough to get on their feet so they can come back and volunteer and help other clients next year.
November 13 – Roanoke, Va.
Sweet Union Baptist Church
Families and individuals that are served by Sweet Union Baptist Church’s food pantry in Roanoke, Va., can’t help but smile when they walk out with their bags full of food. This is not only due to them being able to feed themselves and their families, but because Adrian Lewis, the manager of the pantry, has a way of making everyone feel at ease and upbeat. Lewis, a Vietnam Veteran and part of the Men’s Ministry at the church, greets each person like he’s known them for years. “I love what I do, and getting to help people!” Lewis exclaimed when asked how he can stay so positive each week.
Since opening in 2001, the Church serves 40 households per week on average, equating to almost 100 individuals each month. Due to the number of people they serve, they began to run out of space to store their food donations and needed to expand to a much larger room in the church. “We didn’t have the resources to do that,” said Lewis. “If it wasn’t for Food Lion and being chosen as a recipient for the pantry makeover, we would still be using that small storage space.”
Through Food Lion Feeds’ “The Great Pantry Makeover,” Sweet Union was awarded the funds to purchase new flooring and shelving in order to increase their storage capacity in the new space and make sure they were compliant with the food bank’s policies on food safety.
As part of the Great Pantry Makeover, 10 Food Lion associates came out to pack bags full of food donated by Food Lion, distribute the bags to Sweet Union’s clients, hand out Food Lion gift cards and load their car up. “When we get the chance to be out in the community and interact with those that we’re helping, that’s when we are impacted the most,” said Rob Ward, a Director of Operations for Food Lion over the Roanoke area. “We love coming out to distributions like these and want to make sure the community knows we’re here to support them.”
November 13 – Durham, N.C.
Brogden Middle School
Food Lion associates were excited as they pulled into Tuesday’s Great Pantry Makeover at Brogden Middle School in Durham, N.C..
Catherine Piccot, the school secretary, has been a part of the pantry since its inception in February of 2015. “We opened the pantry because we felt a need to help students who were hungry,” she said. “We try and provide meals to feed 4-6 people for breakfast, lunch dinner and a snack”.
They currently serve around 27 families a week. Students are given the option to leave on Fridays with a backpack of food or their parents can come pick up the donation Thursday or Friday afternoons. The pantry is remains open all summer so students and families can come in any day of the week to pick up a donation, and it also has a clothing closet for the kids as well as supplying them with school supplies twice a year.
Since the pantry has continued to grow, they were ecstatic to see a sea of blue-shirted Food Lion associates ready to help makeover the pantry. Food Lion provided the funds to provide new shelving and refrigeration and of course stock the pantry, , including a variety of fresh produce and frozen meat.
From building shelves, to cleaning to restocking, associates gave the pantry a new and systematized look. Cynthia Fuller, data manager at the school, stated “What Food Lion has given us allows us to serve our students better and keep growing since we know the need is out there. With the refrigeration, we can now give the students more variety on a weekly basis.”
November 14 – Simpsonville, S.C.
Bethlehem Baptist Church
There was no hiding the excitement on Earl Harris’ face when Food Lion associates walked through the doors of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Simpsonville, S.C., on Wednesday. Harris and his wife have been managing the church’s food pantry for a while now, but it has been operating for almost 20 years and is a pillar in the community. Open every Friday morning, the pantry serves about 100 families on average each week and was running short on storage space for dry goods and perishable items. Not only that, the pantry only had one refrigerator so they were limited on the fresh items they could distribute.
“There is so much need in our community and we try to do everything we can to help, like providing emergency food delivery and helping out with gas or other bills,” said Harris. “We’ve really been needing more refrigeration and up until now, we didn’t have the resources to obtain them. We are so grateful to Food Lion for purchasing our new commercial freezers and refrigerators!”
In addition to purchasing the cooling units, Food Lion associates stocked their pantry with almost 1,500 pounds of Food Lion donated product, moved out their old cooling units, laid down mulch in front of the pantry, and helped clean and organize.
“It’s important for us to give back, and we enjoy getting the chance to be hands on to help an organization that’s right in our community” said Rhonda Mauldin, Store Manager of the Simpsonville Food Lion. “Being out here today and seeing everything Bethlehem Baptist does is absolutely amazing!”
November 14 – Waynesville, N.C.
Open Door Ministries
Mary Sue Kindred keeps herself busy by serving people in her community. A retired school teacher, Kindred now serves as the kitchen manager at Open Door Ministries in Waynesville, N.C. Last year, Mary Sue led volunteers of Open Door Ministries to serve over 33,000 meals to food-insecure individuals throughout Haywood County, serving daily hot meals and distributing more than 1,100 food boxes to anyone in need, no questions asked.
That’s plenty to keep Mary Sue busy, but on Wednesday, she got a much-needed break when Food Lion associates showed up!
Local retail associates painted, cleaned and reorganized the food pantry at Open Door as a part of the 4th Annual Food Lion Feeds the Great Pantry Makeover. This year’s campaign focus was on helping pantry’s increase capacity to store and donate fresh food, and that’s just what the pantry at Open Door needed.
Before the makeover, the ministry got by with donated, household refrigerators that didn’t always work well, or sometimes not at all. They were thankful to receive a brand new commercial freezer and refrigerator along with fresh produce and meat as a part of the makeover. “The addition of the new refrigeration has tripled our capacity to have fresh food and keep our food safe for our clients,” said Kindred.
Dave Geater, Food Lion Director of Operations over the Waynesville area, joined his team of associates for the makeover and filled the new refrigerator with fresh carrots before sharing a few kind words with Mary Sue.
“Today, we’ve really seen the difference you are making and the impact you have here in the Waynesville community,” said Geater. We can’t say thank you enough for what you do and allowing us to be a part of it.”
November 15 – Fayetteville, N.C.
Catholic Charities of Raleigh
With only a few days remaining before Thanksgiving, in the middle of one of the pantry’s busiest months of the year, the timing was right for local Food Lion associates to descend on the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh’s Fayetteville Office for another Great Pantry Makeover.
As a partner agency of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeast N.C. in Fayetteville, the Catholic Charities Fayetteville team assists an average of 600 individuals in need with food assistance every month. The agency also offers Fayetteville-area residents with clinical counseling, employment resources and assistance, services for domestic violence survivors and many other resources vital to the community.
As a recipient of one of this year’s Great Pantry Makeover, Catholic Charities Fayetteville was particularly excited about Food Lion Feeds’ focus on expanding agency’s fresh capacity this year.
“We’ve always wanted the opportunity to have meat, produce and other fresh food for our clients,” said Wanda Collazo, Regional Director over the Catholic Charities Fayetteville office. “Having the opportunity to have more nutritious food and serve more people is something we’ve always wanted to do. We’re excited about the possibilities this makeover will create.”
After the Food Lion associates finished cleaning and organizing the pantry, the team stocked the shelves full of nutritious food to help feed their neighbors this season. It was a great day of community partners coming together to help end hunger in their community.
November 15 – Rogersville, Tenn.
Of One Accord Ministry
Supporting our local communities is a part of who we are at Food Lion.
“We’re always glad to help out in the community,” said Execution and Implementation Specialist Brian Whitehead. “Especially for the Great Pantry Makeover, we always have such a good time.” Brian and his fellow associates traveled from all over northeastern Tennessee to volunteer for the Great Pantry Makeover at Of One Accord Ministry in Rogersville, Tenn.
Sheldon Livesay, Founder and Executive Director at Of One Accord Ministry quite literally jumped for joy when Food Lion arrived on Thursday to provide his pantry a much need facelift. “We are so excited about this makeover since our pantry has never had a facelift in its 30 years of operation,” said Livesay.
Livesay founded the ministry in 1988 in his then-bedroom to address food insecurity in his community. Fast forward to present day and the ministry is flourishing, serving more than 30,000 people in three locations throughout Northeastern Tennessee.
The makeover provided funding for the ministry to purchase a commercial refrigerator to store additional donated fresh food, and also to install new flooring for the pantry. During the makeover on Thursday, Food Lion associates loaded fresh meat and produce into the pantry along with staple pantry items like cooking oil and pasta. “We thank Food Lion for their generosity and commitment to the communities they serve!” shared Livesay.
November 16 – Claymont, Del.
Claymont Community Center
Claymont, Del., Food Lion associate Tony Gibbs is like many Food Lion employees. He works hard, loves his job, and will do anything to help; especially when it comes to people in his community, particular those at the Claymont Community Center. “I am from this community and this agency helped me and my boys when we first moved here in the 1990s,” Gibbs said. “It feels good to be able to help them today.”
Gibbs and five other area Food Lion associates worked four hours to paint, assemble shelves and restock the pantry at Claymont Community Center. The center, which houses a head start, senior center and a food pantry has been operating since the 1970s.
Food Lion associates were helping Friday as part of the company’s Great Pantry Makeover initiative. The center not only received a facelift and food on Friday, but also provided funding to purchase new refrigerators to increase their capacity for fresh meat and vegetable items.
“We provide fresh food but we didn’t have enough space,” said food pantry manger Cecelia Miranda. “This refrigerator that Food Lion donated is a big plus.”
The associates meticulously used green and white paint updating the pantry walls to make it more of a welcome space for clients. “Just because someone is poor doesn’t mean they should come to an unpainted room that makes them feel worse,” said the center’s director, Allison David.
Last year, the center helped 4,000 individuals and families who were food insecure. Staff said with Food Lion’s help on Friday, they are sure to be able to help even more.